Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Pacific Alliance

Pacific Alliance: Reviving U.S.-Japan Relations

Kent E. Calder
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 320
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Pacific Alliance
    Book Description:

    Despite the enduring importance of the U.S.-Japan security alliance, the broader relationship between the two countries is today beset by sobering new difficulties. In this comprehensive comparative analysis of the transpacific alliance and its political, economic, and social foundations, Kent E. Calder, a leading Japan specialist, asserts that bilateral relations between the two countries are dangerously eroding as both seek broader options in a globally oriented world.

    Calder documents the quiet erosion of America's multidimensional ties with Japan as China rises, generations change, and new forces arise in both American and Japanese politics. He then assesses consequences for a twenty-first-century military alliance with formidable coordination requirements, explores alternative foreign paradigms for dealing with the United States, adopted by Britain, Germany, and China, and offers prescriptions for restoring U.S.-Japan relations to vitality once again.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14673-8
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. A Note on Conventions
    (pp. xv-xv)
  6. List of Acronyms
    (pp. xvi-xx)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Japan specialists in the United States take it as gospel truth that the U.S.–Japan alliance relationship is sacrosanct. It is an immutable reality, they contend, as fundamental to global order as a law of nature. They often cite the former ambassador to Tokyo Mike Mansfield on the alliance: “The most important relationship in the world, bar none.”¹

    It is time to reexamine that proposition. And indeed, it is time, in a globalizing, post–Cold War world, to reexamine the classic notion of alliance as well. Half a century and more has passed since U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson...

  8. Chapter 1 The Quiet Crisis of the Alliance
    (pp. 9-30)

    In April 2007 Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō visited the White House with his wife, Akie, for a tête-à-tête dinner with George and Laura Bush. The next day the two principals helicoptered to Camp David, the president’s private retreat, for a day of far-ranging talks as friends and allies. Their joint statement hailed a slew of fresh initiatives, elaborated at a high-profile joint news conference.

    TheNew York Timespublished a panoramic photo of that august gathering the next day, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Minister of Foreign Affairs Asō Tarō, flanked by Ambassadors Katō Ryōzō and Thomas...

  9. Chapter 2 The World That Dulles Built
    (pp. 31-66)

    Any human relationship is a becoming, with the past providing a continuing laboratory for the present and the future. So it is with the Pacific alliance. “Those who cannot remember the past,” as George Santayana observed, “are condemned to repeat it.”¹

    Two hundred years ago, there were few more contrasting nations on earth than Japan and the United States: one optimistic, self-righteous, and outward-bound; the other more subtle, introverted, and biased toward isolation. Both were inquisitive and clearly capable of dynamic dialogue. Yet they had little inkling of one another.

    Underlying today’s ties between Washington and Tokyo is the epic...

  10. Chapter 3 The Notion of Alliance
    (pp. 67-88)

    The concept of alliance is among the most venerable in international relations theory, with a provenance going back two thousand years and more. Thucydides considered the notion in his classicPeloponnesian Wars.¹ So did Sun-Tze and other Chinese strategic theorists who were his rough contemporaries.²

    Alliance has been a long-standing element of practice as well as theory. Indeed, it was the reality of nations banding together to forestall the inroads of adversaries in ancient Greece and China that gave rise to early theorizing. The Peloponnesian League, with Sparta as a hegemon, and the Delian League, centering on Athens, were among...

  11. Chapter 4 The Economic Basis of National Security
    (pp. 89-114)

    America’s leaders have traditionally understood that economics and national security are profoundly linked, both in configuring for security at home and in addressing international affairs. Even before the United States entered World War II, the Roosevelt administration prepared America to become an “arsenal of democracy,” focusing intently on building an industrial base that might be needed in future years, one capable of supplying both friendly nations already fighting in the field and American forces as well. Providentially, this integrated economics and security approach proved crucial after Pearl Harbor in enabling the United States to mobilize rapidly for war and ultimately...

  12. Chapter 5 Networks: Sinews of the Future
    (pp. 115-133)

    We have seen, in the preceding pages, that transpacific relations have changed in fundamental ways, remarkably rapidly, since the dawn of this century. Indeed, the Washington–Tokyo alliance that we know today is remarkably different in military terms from what it was even a decade ago. By many technical standards, it may well be stronger. Thanks to the Internet and advanced telecommunications, the capacity for command and control in a purely technical sense is immeasurably strengthened. The alliance has also assumed important economic dimensions in an era of deepening global trade and financial and energy interdependence.

    The key question for...

  13. Chapter 6 An Alliance Transformed: U.S.–Japan Relations since 2001
    (pp. 134-157)

    In 1970, when U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird suggested elliptically in an interview with the Japanese press that someday the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) might defend sea-lanes to the Strait of Malacca, there was a firestorm of protest and incredulity in Tokyo. In 1981, when Japanese Foreign Minister Itō Masayoshi suggested that Japan had a sea-lane defense responsibility only one thousand nautical miles from Japanese shores, he was fiercely criticized for what was then considered an overly ambitious commitment. Yet when, in the fall of 2001, the Maritime Self-Defense Forces (MSDF) were actually dispatched not just to Malacca, but...

  14. Chapter 7 The Global Challenge
    (pp. 158-177)

    Origins, as the economist Douglass North observed, can often set the course of the future, even when they have receded historically far into the past.¹ So it is with alliances. However much their authors desire them to respond to any eventuality as it arises, their origins configure them to react in preconditioned ways, regardless of dynamic, ongoing changes in their broader political, social, or technological surroundings.

    The U.S.–Japan alliance, as we have seen, had its roots in war and occupation, well over half a century ago. Japan and the United States responded remarkably well, in partnership, to the multiple...

  15. Chapter 8 Alternative Paradigms
    (pp. 178-215)

    The U.S.–Japan alliance, as we have seen, is a remarkable yet fragile relationship, viewed in historical perspective. One of the first major ongoing international security partnerships to bridge oceans and cultures and arguably the most enduring, it has its origins in war and occupation. It has had unusual economic, social, and cultural challenges with which to contend. Yet it has evolved, nevertheless, since the late 1990s, into a remarkably potent, if unbalanced, military configuration, making substantial positive contributions to the national security of both nations and to global stability.

    The challenge for the future is to stabilize, deepen, and...

  16. Chapter 9 Prescriptions for the Future
    (pp. 216-238)

    As has become clear across the past eight chapters, my method in this volume has been comparative—to cast the net as widely across both history and geography as possible in search of broad and relevant generalization. And my overriding objective has been prescriptive—to discover when and why alliances endure and then to identify best practices worldwide for sustaining them. The ultimate purpose has been to strengthen and deepen a U.S.–Japan partnership that Mike Mansfield justly called “the most important relationship in the world, bar none.”¹

    Some would question the importance of formal alliances in the more fluid...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 239-268)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 269-280)
  19. Index
    (pp. 281-292)